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The University of Southampton

SPAN2006 High, Popular and Mass Culture in Modern Spain

Module Overview

This course will examine high, popular and mass cultural forms in twentieth century Spain and Latin America. It will discuss notions of mass reproduction and its cultural consequences for cultural form and audience response, including the appropriation of mass culture under postmodernity.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Theories of high, popular, mass culture and more recent ones in context of globalisation and hybridity
  • A range of high, popular, mass, hybrid/ globalised cultural texts in different media
  • Techniques for analysing a variety of cultural forms
  • An appreciation of the different modes of response of audiences of high, popular, mass/ globalised and hybrid culture
  • Issues of Spanish and Latin American cultural development and cultural management
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assess different theories of high, popular and mass culture as well recent debates on hybridity/globalisation
  • Critically evaluate existing interpretations of the material studied
  • Think critically about different kinds of audience response
  • Analyse the relationship and interaction that existed between high, popular and mass culture during the twentieth and twenty-first century
  • Develop independent learning strategies
  • Understand a range of theoretical approaches and apply them to the material covered
  • Conduct independent research, thus obtaining training in the research required for the residence abroad investigative project


This module examines high, popular and mass cultural forms in twentieth century Spain and Latin America. Attention is particularly paid to the political uses made of those different forms. The module explores the function of popular culture in predominantly rural societies where literacy is low, and the co-option of selective aspects of popular culture for high-cultural purposes. It discusses notions of mass reproduction and its cultural consequences for cultural form and audience response, including the appropriation of mass culture under post modernity and as developed in Cultural Studies. Recent developments in the field of Cultural Studies will also include notions of globalisation and cultural hybridity. This module will explore how the processes by which certain texts are incorporated into the high-cultural canon, paying attention to texts which have been read both as popular culture and as high culture. Material studied includes theoretical writings on high, popular and mass culture, as well as notions of cultural hybridity and globalisation; popular prints; photography; popular music; popular cinema; fiction.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Following an introduction to theories of high, popular, mass culture, hybridity and globalisaton, the lectures will introduce you to a wide range of cultural expressions from Spain and Latin America. In the seminars, you will be expected to relate the theory to that material, and develop their own analyses. The oral presentation requires you to research a small project, to present their analysis lucidly to their peers, and to clarify and support points in the discussion that follows. The essays seek to test your grasp of the theoretical and analytical issues raised, their capacity for independent research, and their academic writing skills. The essays require you to demonstrate your knowledge of the material covered and their ability to address questions raised about the issues discussed and to develop their own analysis. Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Seminars (including compulsory student presentations and group discussion) Learning activities include: • Close reading and analysis of varied forms of cultural expression • Debating in class theoretical issues and differing interpretations of the texts • Constructing arguments for presentation orally and in written work • Independent research and study

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi (eds) (1998). The Cultures of Globalization. 

Online resource.

Shaw, Debra (2017). Transnational Cinemas: Mapping a field of study - for the Routledge Companion to World Cinema, edited by Rob Stone, Paul Cooke, Stephanie Dennison & Alex Marlow-Mann. 

Imagined Communities (1991). Imagined Communities. 

Raab, Josef, and Martin Butler, eds (2008). Hybrid Americas: Contacts, Contrasts, and Confluences in New World Literatures and Cultures. 

Storey, John (ed), (1994). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: a Reader. 

William Rowe and Vivian Schelling (1991). Memory and Modernity: Popular Culture in Latin America. 

Homi Bhabha. The Location of Culture (a difficult book but a foundational text of postcolonial theory; the chapter on stereotypes is especially useful). 

Burke, Peter (2009). Cultural Hybridity. 

Online resource.

Canclini, Nestor García (1995). Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity globalización. 

Huyssen, Andreas. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass culture, Postmodernism. 

Strinati, Dominic (1995). An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture. 

An Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • Participation in seminar discussion; • Preparation for seminar presentation and two essays.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 45%
Essay  (2000 words) 45%
Presentation 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Summative assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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